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The Hepworth Wakefield to receive one of the UK's largest bequests, comprising 400 works of art and a three storey Victorian London house



The Hepworth Wakefield is delighted to announce details of one of the UK’s largest bequests in recent years and one of the most significant gifts to Wakefield by a private collector.

The entire collection of more than 400 works - comprising ceramics, sculptures, paintings and works on paper, as well as a significant library of books - is to be gifted to the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection, held at The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Sayer was motivated to leave his collection following a visit to the Yorkshire gallery in 2015. He said: “I was amazed by David Chipperfield’s remarkable building with its sequence of ten beautifully-lit gallery spaces, and I realised that it would be the perfect home for my collection.”

London-based art collector Tim Sayer, a retired BBC Radio 4 newswriter has been passionately collecting for over 50 years. The collection includes works by some of the world’s greatest artists: Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, Sonia Delaunay, David Hockney, Henry Moore, Sol Lewitt, Paul Nash, Gerhard Richter and Bridget Riley.

From 30 April until 25 October, a new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield titled The Tim Sayer Bequest: A Private Collection Revealed will celebrate the bequest, with a display of approximately 100 works as part of the gallery’s 5th anniversary programme. This will be the first time that this art collection will be publicly displayed.

IMAGE: Tim Sayer in his London home, looking at a print of artist Henry Moore. Photo (c) Rosie Hallam. Image courtesy Tim Sayer and The Hepworth

Tim Sayer in his London home, looking at a print of artist Henry Moore. Photo (c) Rosie Hallam. Imag

The exhibition will include a small selection from a portfolio of more than 150 early prints – the first works that Tim Sayer collected – alongside significant groupings of works by Naum Gabo and Prunella Clough. Works by over 50 other artists will be exhibited, from sculpture by David Nash and Jonathan Miller, to ceramics by Ewen Henderson and Gordon Baldwin. The exhibition will explore the domestic context of the collection, which currently occupies almost every surface of Sayer’s home.


Tim Sayer added: “It gives us great satisfaction to pledge our collection to The Hepworth Wakefield, where it will be enjoyed by generations of gallery goers for many years to come within such a superb building and inspiring art historical context. As a self-confessed ‘art-oholic’, my collection has been a lifetime’s passion, inspired by seeing the collection at Kettle’s Yard, which I’m delighted will be on display concurrently.

Tim Sayer in his London home. Photo © Rosie Hallam. Image courtesy Tim Sayer and The Hepworth Wakefi

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate said: “The Tim Sayer Bequest is one of the most significant and generous donations to a regional gallery in the UK. The collection reflects the discriminating eye of a person of modest means, whose passion for art 'took precedence over holidays'. The Hepworth Wakefield, with its fine sequence of galleries, will be enormously enriched by the bequest. At times like these, with public funding cutbacks, arts and heritage organisations need all the private help they can get. It would be wonderful if Tim Sayer's example encouraged other collectors to be as generous. I hope that we can make private giving to the arts and other charities an everyday part of our social and cultural life.”


IMAGE: Tim Sayer in his London home. Photo © Rosie Hallam. Image courtesy Tim Sayer and The Hepworth

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “This wonderful, generous, gift will contribute significantly to expanding the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection as a major public resource that is much loved and well used. It builds on the strategic investment we have made in creating The Hepworth Wakefield to ensure that culture-led regeneration continues ambitiously in the region.”


Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “Philanthropic gifts such as this play a vital role in nurturing our nationally important visual arts in West Yorkshire. Through the generosity of individuals and many of the artists we have worked with, as well as the support of institutions such as the Art Fund and Contemporary Art Society, we have grown the collection considerably. We have secured acquisitions and gifts totalling more than £7 million since the gallery opened in 2011, which began with The Hepworth Family Gift. Continuing to build on the legacy of Wakefield’s unique collection has been a fundamental part of our ambitions at The Hepworth Wakefield and there will be the opportunity to see some of these newly acquired works in our new collection displays during our 5th anniversary year.”

He added: “We realise the vital importance of collecting for current and future generations. I am delighted therefore to announce that we will be introducing the Own Art scheme at the gallery later this year, to help aspiring collectors develop their own art collections.”


The Tim Sayer Bequest will be exhibited as part of The Hepworth Wakefield’s spring-summer exhibitions programme, which includes: Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield (21 May – 4 September); and Yorkshire: Hepworth, Moore and the Landscape (30 April – Spring 2017), an exhibition celebrates the artistic heritage of Wakefield and Yorkshire with a major display of paintings from the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection, and key works by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.